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Displaying items by tag: Finn Lynch

Finn Lynch (20) of County Carlow is the Olympic “Sailor of the Month” for May, following his arduous and often lonely journey to succeed in taking over Ireland’s already-secured place in the International Laser Class in the 2016 Olympics Games, scheduled for August in Rio de Janeiro.

A year ago, few would have rated Lynch’s chances very highly. An extremely promising junior sailor, he had hit the “Cadet-level Ceiling” where virtually no funding is available for international competition and coaching for anyone caught between the highly-organised, parentally-supported junior level, and the early stages of the full-blown Olympic programme.

But having been “adopted” by the National Yacht Club, fund-raising was undertaken on Lynch’s behalf by an informal organisation set up by Carmel Winkelmann NYC and friends, and between April 2015 and June 2016, €40,000 has been raised to send Lynch to key events and coaching sessions.

Nevertheless the likelihood of Finn Lynch actually taking the Irish Olympic place originally secured by James Espey was only a distant possibility. The point of the campaign was to encourage the growth of Lynch’s talent as much as possible. Postponement in some sort of soul-destroying limbo was not an option. And Finn Lynch, with his soaring performance and extraordinary ability to focus on the task in hand, not only soared, but he took over Ireland’s Olympic place at the Laser Worlds in Mexico on Wednesday May 18th 2016.

It was an exceptional breakthrough, and it evoked a response of exemplary generosity and good sportsmanship from Belfast Lough sailor James Espey in a posting on Facebook:

“Pretty gutted that a tough week here at the World Championships means I won't be representing Ireland at the Olympic Games this time around. Nervous to give up the spot I earned in Santander, and the lead I had going into this week meant I was vulnerable on the race course in the early days and couldn't come back from it.
A fall at the last hurdle... but well done to Finn Lynch Sailing for taking up the spot and our flag at the Games.
It's been a real honour to race against Laser sailors from all over the world these past eight years, and what a blast it has been! I couldn't have made a better group of friends, both in this class and in the rest of the classes of our traveling circus, and for that I will be forever grateful (and hopefully will have people to visit around the world for life). Special thanks to my training partners and coaches over the years, you all know who you are and I hope you have as many great memories of our times as I do.
A limitless thanks to all of my supporters, my friends and family back home. I couldn't have done this without you, and the only consolation for not making the Games is that I'll get to be home with you all sooner to show my thanks in person.
I'm looking forward to all the great sailing I'm going to get to do in the future - may try out a couple more classes than just this hiking beast!
See you all on the race course,

Published in Sailor of the Month

Solo sailor Finn Lynch (20), returned home from the Laser World Championships in Mexico last night to the National Yacht Club and a hero's welcome. The Dun Laoghaire clubhouse was packed to cheer the ground breaking achievemements that saw the U21 Laser world champion claim the single Rio berth ahead of London 2012's James Espey of Belfast. Lynch, originally from Carlow, is a member of The National Yacht Club and is the youngest ever Irish helmsman to qualify for the Olympics. Read more on his qualification victory here

View the photo gallery below by Joe Fallon:

Published in Olympic

Hello and welcome aboard this week’s edition of your maritime programme Seascapes,  this week we congratulate Finn Lynch who is the latest member of the Irish sailing team bound for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro following the World Championships in Mexico this week......Laura Hannon visits Tourin House near Cappoquin on the banks of An Abhainn Mor for Seascapes where she meets with Dennis Murray and hears about the great rowing tradition on the Munster Blackwater..............

First this week on Seascapes to an award winning documentary film maker from Tipperary – Richie O Donnell who has produced a fine piece of work which follows the fortunes of three small fishing communities in Galway ; Norway and Newfoundland as they struggle to maintain their way of life in the face of mounting economic and ecological challenges , a few weeks ago Richie O Donnell came into studio and we discussed how “Atlantic “ took shape......

Here on Seascapes we’re talking with documentary film maker Richie O Donnell about his latest release “Atlantic “ which also looks at the issue of super trawlers which appear in Irish waters off the West Coast with devastating effect....

You can see “Atlantic “ in The Abbey Tavern in Howth next Thursday evening , tickets are available from the venue –Admission is €7 euro ., the screening is being hosted by Friends of Howth Maritime Museum ...many thanks to Pat Murphy for alerting Seascapes to this screening , the narration on “Atlantic” is by distinguished actor Brendan Gleeson.....

Congratulations to a young man whom we’ve been following for over a decade here on Seascapes .........At the Laser class World Championships in Mexico on Wednesday night 20 year old Finn Lynch from Carlow became the youngest ever Irish sailing helmsman to qualify for the Olympic Games.

The World Championships was the third and final trial in the selection series for three contenders including London 2012 veteran James Espey along with up and coming Baltimore sailor Fionn Lyden. James Espey led by 6 points going into the final trial but finished 24 places behind Finn. Fionn Lyden narrowed the gap on James by finishing 11 places ahead of him at the Worlds but still finished the trial third.

Sailing for the National Yacht Club, Finn Lynch emerged from the four day preliminary round of the world championship as the only Irish sailor to reach the Gold fleet for the top 56 competitors in the 112-strong event. That result helped secure an advantage over Espey and Lyden who sailed the finals in the separate Silver fleet, overall they finished 67th and 78th respectively. Lynch placed 54th in the Gold and overall. ........

Competing in the Men’s single-handed event, Lynch will now join newcomers Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey along with London 2012 veteran Annalise Murphy and Ryan Seaton with Matt McGovern to be nominated by the board of the Irish Sailing Association to the Olympic Council of Ireland for inclusion in the Irish team at Rio 2016

Next here on Seascapes to An Abhainn Mor , a few weeks ago Laura Hannon headed for Cappoquin and Tourin House on the river to meet up with Dennis Murray....

The film “Badoiri “ is being screened on RTE One Television on Monday night .....Using still images and film footage taken over thirty years ago photographer Joe St Leger tells the story of capturing images of the last of the hooker boatmen of Connemara.

For centuries Galway hookers sailed the waters of Galway Bay transporting people, goods and animals and connecting remote coastal communities with the Aran Islands, Galway city and market towns like Kinvara. Celebrated every year in the annual Cruinniu na mBad...... Transport and fishing once provided work for hundreds of these boats and their crews but by the 1960s their working days were coming to an end and many old boats were abandoned.

In the 1980’s attempts were made to revive interest in the craft starting with the annual Crinniú na mBád or Gathering of the Boats in Kinvara and to preserve for future generations the skills needed to build and to sail them.......

This film “ Badoiri “ by Joe St Leger uses photographs taken during the revival to document what remained of the Galway hookers and of the people aboard .....the film can be seen this Monday night 23rd May @ 7.30pm on RTE One Television not to be missed...........

This weekend also on television you can see Kenneth Branagh as “Shackleton “ marking the centenary of the loss of The Endurance on More 4 on this Sunday night @ 9.00pm .....

Next Friday night prior to the opening of the Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival ....John Kearon will give an illustrated talk on the restoration of the “ASGARD “.....conserving Erskine Childers historic yacht...

Published in Seascapes
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Laser sailor Finn Lynch will be given a hero's welcome when he arrives back to the National Yacht Club (NYC) this evening. The Dun Laoghaire club gave its full support to the teen's campaign that ended with Olympic nomination success on Wednesday.

Lynch secured his selection over boat qualifier James Espey (the London 2012 representative) and fellow trialist Fionn Lyden on the final day of the Laser Worlds in Mexico. Lynch was the only sailor to make gold fleet.

David O'Brien in the Irish Times this morning noted the fledgling campaign was only kept afloat by club fundraisers, spearheaded by NYC doyen Carmel Winkelmann. A point also noted on Lynch's Facebook page (below).

Tonight, the NYC is getting ready to hear Finn's story first hand when it toasts both Lynch and his clubmate Annalise Murphy who will both be flyng the NYC ensign in Rio in August.

Lynch will become Ireland's youngest ever Olympic helmsman at age 20, eclipsing Malahide Finn sailor David Burrows who sailed in Sydney 200 aged 22 and Malaide club mate Robert Dix who sailed in Kingston in 1976 aged 23.

Rising star Lynch has had a meteoric rise to his this weeks Olympic place.

Finn Lynch's Road to Rio

2008 Selected for ISA Topper Squad (age 12)
2009 Topper World Championship Silver Medal
2011 Selected ISA Academy
2012 ISAF Youth World Championships Silver Medal
2012 u17 Radial European Champion
2013 u21 Radial World Champion
2013 Radial World Championship Bronze Medal
2014 u19 Laser World Champion
2015 u21 Laser World Championships 4th
2016 Wins Irish nomination trials for Rio Olympics

Published in Olympic

At the Laser class world championships in Mexico last night, 20–year–old Finn Lynch's Olympic dream came true when he won his place at the Rio games. The Carlow man becomes the youngest ever Irish sailing helmsman to qualify for the Olympic Games.

The event was the third and final trial in the selection series for three contenders including London 2012 veteran James Espey along with up and coming Baltimore sailor Fionn Lyden. James Espey led by 6 points going into the final trial but finished 24 places behind Finn. Fionn Lyden narrowed the gap on James by finishing 11 places ahead of him at the Worlds but still finished the trial third.

“This is a particularly welcome result for Finn who has been on a promising trajectory since he first won silver for Ireland at Topper Worlds seven years ago,” commented James O’Callaghan, ISA Performance Director. "Winning the place for Rio is massive and the experience should serve to propel his career even further" The result moves Lynch overnight from ISA Development sailor to full senior Providence Team Ireland status.

Sailing for the National Yacht Club, Lynch emerged from the four day preliminary round of the world championship as the only Irish sailor to reach the Gold fleet for the top 56 competitors in the 112-strong event. That result helped secure an advantage over Espey and Lyden who sailed the finals in the separate Silver fleet, overall they finished 67th and 78th respectively. Lynch placed 54th in the Gold and overall.

Nick Thompson from Great Britain successfully defended his world title in a top ten line-up that included multiple Olympic medallists and world champions.

Competing in the Men’s single-handed event, Lynch will now join newcomers Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey (Women’s skiff) along with London 2012 veteran Annalise Murphy (Women’s single-handed) and Ryan Seaton with Matt McGovern (Men’s skiff) to be nominated by the board of the Irish Sailing Association to the Olympic Council of Ireland for inclusion in the Irish team at Rio 2016.

Published in Olympic
Tagged under

A globe trotting Irish Olympic mens Laser trial comes to a conclusion in Mexico today with Finn Lynch leading the three boat contest for the single Rio berth. Lynch is 50 out of 56 in the gold fleet of the Laser World Championships that form the third Irish trial. Both the other trialists, Fionn Lyden and James Espey, are racing in silver fleet. All eyes are on Lynch for the Olympic nod later today after the last two races of the 112-boat championships are sailed.


Published in Olympic

After five days of competition at the 112-boat Laser World Championships in Mexico, the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch has built a lead of 45–points over James Espey in the race for the final Irish Olympic sailing berth in Rio. The big points cushion of Lynch's 187 versus Espey's 232 is important because this week's championships – that concludes tomorrow – is the final selection trial for the Irish Olympic mens Laser berth in Rio.

Going into the event last Thursday, (the last of three Irish trials since December), Belfast's Espey had earned a slender six point lead over the Carlow debutante but after ten races at Riviera Nayarit, the regatta has tipped in Lynch's favour. On Monday, Lynch was the only one of three Irish competing (Fionn Lyden of Baltimore is the third) to make the gold fleet cut. Yesterday, a black flag disqualification for Espey in the silver fleet has made things more difficult for the Ulster sailor to regain lost ground. Still, while the gap has widened, Lynch, currently lying 48th from 56 in gold, will be well aware four races remain to be sailed, making it arguably possible for Espey, (Ireland's London 2012 rep) to make a come back at the notoriously fickle venue.

Results are here

Published in Olympic

The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch made the gold fleet cut at the Laser Worlds in Mexico yesterday by finishing the qualifying rounds in 56th place in the 112–boat fleet, taking the last place for today's gold fleet finals. Not only is it a significant achievement for the former youth medalist at this level in an Olympic year, but much more importantly it moves the Carlow youth a step closer to winning Olympic selection by Wednesday. Both rivals Fionn Lyden and James Espey will complete the championships in silver fleet position where they are in five places apart in 65th and 70th place respectively. The final series starts to day and although the trials advantage is now with Lynch there are still six races left to sail. 

Nick Thompson of Great Britain had another good day at the races to close out the qualifying series in first place overall in the Laser Standard Men’s World Championship in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico. Thompson’s 2nd and 4th place allowed him to increase his advantage over Jean-Baptiste Bernaz of France to five points, a margin by which Laser Championships can be won or lost. Tomorrow the sailors will be split into gold and silver fleets to begin three days of finals series racing.

Celebrated Laser World Champion and Olympic medalist, Robert Scheidt, moved into third place with two more top-ten results while the previous third place holder, Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic, scored an 8th and 25th. Stipanovic now has to count a 14th (his previous discard race) but holds on to fourth place overall.
The top-3 sailors at the end of qualification have all, so far, maintained single figure results excluding their discard races. However, a close look at the score cards reveals that several sailors are starting to find the consistency that was missing at the beginning of the championship. These include the best sailor of the day, Wannes Van Laar of Belgium, who posted two second place finishes today to jump five places into fifth overall.
Today’s slightly lighter winds from a more southerly direction provided another mix in the results on this final qualification day. Changes in the wind strength and direction were minimal, between 215 and 230 degrees and 9 to 12 knots during the three hours of racing. However, these variations were enough to keep things interesting for the sailors and proved sufficient to provide significant changes in positions from one race to the next.
With three days of Finals Series racing to come, the sailors are certainly aware that the coming days of will be long and twice as hard, as the world’s top sailors now go head-to-head. Sailing skills need to be at a sailor’s best. Places will be won and lost by a meter or a second. A cool head under the hot sun and maximum concentration will be needed to stay consistent over the upcoming six scheduled races – even more so if the weather changes.

Overall Results after 8 races with 1 discard
Nick Thompson GBR 16pts
Jean-Baptiste Bernaz FRA 21pts
Robert Scheidt BRA 33pts
Tonci Stipanovic CRO 37pts
Wannes van Laer BEL 39pts
Matthew Wearn AUS 41pts.
Tom Burton 42pts
Marco Gallo ITA 46pts
Philipp Buhl GER 46pts
Sam Meech NZL 50pts

Published in Olympic
Tagged under

In the Irish Olympic selection trial being sailed as part of the Laser World championships in Mexico, the rising star of Irish sailing Finn Lynch continues to build a points cushion over James Espey and Fionn Lyden for the single berth in Rio. The Irish Olympic spot will be decided when this championships concludes on Wednesday. A top class eighth placing in race five yesterday saw the National Yacht Club debutante move up to 58th overall. He is now 20–points clear of Lyden in 63rd and 46 points clear of Espey who is 78th in the 112–boat fleet.

Lynch has a final race of qualifying today and, significantly, stands on the cusp of a gold fleet place for the top 56–sailors in the fleet. Defending champion, Nick Thompson of Britain, regained his lead on Day 3. Full results here

The 2016 Laser Standard Championship at Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit was always expected to be one of the highlights of the sailing year as the world’s top Laser sailors make their final preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Winning a stand-alone world championship in an Olympic class is the ultimate goal for every sailor, apart from a coveted Olympic medal, and is certainly contributing to the pressure before the Games. A good result is not only a morale boosting personal achievement but also a message to your opposition in Rio to beware!

Defending a world championship title is a challenge only a few top sailors ever face, so for Great Britain’s Nick Thompson, returning to the top of the leader board after 6 races and a difficult day on the water is surely extra satisfying. Thompson finished first in today’s first race in the Blue Fleet to draw level on points with the overnight leader, Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia sailing in the Yellow Fleet. At the first mark the Croatian looked as if he would match Thompson race-for-race as he led New Zealand’s Sam Meech until the beginning of the second downwind leg when they split tacks. When they next met Meech had the advantage, which he held to the finish.

The second race for both fleets saw the usual southwesterly wind catch out a number of sailors as they expected the right side of the first windward leg to pay as it had in the previous race. The 11 knot wind increased to 13 knots and swung 10 degrees to the left soon after the start. Unfortunately for some the wind stayed left, stranding those who placed their faith in finding a right shift. Amongst these was Stipanovic, who suffered most in the Yellow Fleet rounding the first mark in 21st position, five places behind overnight 5thoverall Robert Scheidt. By the finish, Scheidt had made a good recovery to 8thand Stipanovic mirrored his gain to 14th, which became his discard. Slowly the first leg mix sorted itself out with Kristian Ruth from Norway improving his fourth place rounding at the top mark to take the winning gun ahead of his fellow countryman Hermann Tomasgaard and Philipp Buhl of Germany.

In the Blue Fleet it took three recalls to get the fleet away in a building breeze. The course was more balanced although the fleet still favored the right. Belgium’s Wannes van Laer did the best job of picking his way through the shifts in the center right to lead at the first mark ahead of Julio Alsogaray from Argentina and Australia’s Tom Burton. Meanwhile, Thompson protected the right to round in 7th. Van Laer swapped places with Alsogary on the first downwind as Thompson gained three places. By the end of the race Burton had taken first place, which with a 4th in the previous race made him the second most improved sailor of the day jumping 11 places up the leaderboard to 8th compared to best of the day, New Zealand’s Sam Meech, who climbed 13 places to 11thoverall.

Thompson now has a three-point cushion over new number two, Jean-Baptiste Bernaz of France, going into the final day of qualifiers before the real excitement begins in the finals series when the world’s top 56 Laser sailors race head-to-head.

Overall Results after 6 races with 1 discard

Nick Thompson GBR 10pts
Jean-Baptiste Bernaz FRA 13pts
Tonci Stipanovic CRO 15pts
Matthew Wearn AUS 18pts
Robert Scheidt BRA 21pts
Philipp Buhl GER 25pts
KacperZieminski POL 29pts
Tom Burton 32pts
Marco Gallo ITA 33pts
Wannes van Laer BEL 35pts

Published in Olympic

In the Irish selection trial being sailed as part of the Laser World championships in Mexico, Finn Lynch has extended his lead over James Espey and Fionn Lyden for the single berth in Rio. While there is only one point between the leaders at the top of the fleet only 19 points separate the Irish trio. Lynch is 64th, Lyden 71st and Espey 83rd in the 112–boat fleet.

The Dun Laoghaire sailing star, who is a Youth World Championship silver medallist and U–19 Laser World champion, trailed Espey by six points going into this week's Laser Worlds so must maintain his current advantage to be sure of his Rio berth. Read more about the Irish trialists final battle here.

Tonci Stipanovic from Croatia heads the leader board with a well deserved win in the first race of Day 2. In a 10–knot south westerly breeze Matthew Wearn from Australia led the blue fleet round the first mark ahead of Wannes van Laer BEL and Julio Alsogaray ARG. Stipanovic took the lead ahead of Wearn after a good second windward leg when both pulled clear of Alsogaray and the chasing pack to then lead the fleet home. Germany’s Olympic representative, Philipp Buhl, was a major casualty at the start of the blue fleet race when he had to retire after being given a second yellow flag penalty on the start line.

In the yellow fleet, sailing on the outer loop, overnight leader Nick Thompson GBR, could only manage a 5th behind Jean-Bapiste Bernaz and the first three Marco Gallo ITA, Kacper Zieminski POL and Franccesco Marrai ITA who traded places in front of him.

The wind increased for the second races of the day bringing larger waves enabling sailors to catch some good downwind rides and, for a few, also the attention of the on-water jury.

The previously favoured right right-hand of the course was not so dominant although most of the favourites scored well. In the yellow fleet, Olympic silver medalist, Pavlos Kontides CYP won the port end pin position at the start and tacked to cross the fleet early to lead all the way home ahead of Bernaz. 5 places back from the pin Thompson got trapped at the port end and had to take a two turn penalty after he inadvertently impeded another boat whilst trying to clear his wind. Thompson did well to round the first mark in 20th and then recover to 13th which is currently his discard race.

Luke Elliot AUS also led from start to finish in the blue fleet with Alsogaray and Scheidt again in single figures after both climbing through the fleet.

5 points separate the first 7 places in the overall results after 2 more races at the Laser World Championships at Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico.

Top Ten Overall Results after 4 races with 1 discard

Tonci Stipanovic CRO 6pts
Nick Thompson GBR 7 pts
Jean-Baptiste Bernaz FRA 8pts
Matthew Wearn AUS 9pts
Robert Scheidt BRA 10pts
Julio Alsogary ARG 10 pts
Francesco Marrai ITA 11pts
KacperZieminski POL 14pts
Philipp Buhl GER 18pts
Marco Gallo ITA 20pts

Published in Olympic
Page 10 of 16

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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